Former rebels in Northern Samar receive assistance

On February 8, 2022, DOLE-NSFO distributed P900,000 in livelihood kits to the first batch of 24 ex-communists in Catarman, Northern Samar. Photo: DOLE-8/Facebook

The Department of Labor and Employment Northern Samar Field Office (DOLE-NSFO) distributed P900,000 in livelihood kits to the first batch of twenty-four (24) former members of the communist group in Catarman, Northern Samar, on February 8, 2022.

The former rebels had surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and have received comprehensive assistance from various government agencies. They were temporarily housed in the government-managed halfway house in Barangay Dalakit, the Darangpan Center.

DOLE-NSFO, in collaboration with RTF-ELCAC and the PSWDO, has enrolled the former rebels in the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), which provides qualified and deserving beneficiaries with in-kind livelihood assistance up to P30,000. This initiative, which arose from consultation between DOLE-NSFO and Northern Samar Provincial Governor Edwin Ongchuan, aims to improve the lives of former rebels and their families by providing them with sustainable sources of income and assisting them in reintegrating into mainstream society.

Joy, a former NPA member who collected extortion money—often referred to as "revolutionary tax"—from residents of Catarman's remote communities to fund the communist group, said he joined the NPA  to feed and support his poor family. 

When life became too dangerous and difficult in the mountains, he surrendered to provide a better life for his family away from the insurgency.

Joy formally expressed his gratitude to the government for the assistance he and the other former rebels have received during the formal turn-over ceremony held in the Darangpan Shelter attended by representatives of DOLE-NSFO, DepEd, PSWDO, and the AFP.

"I appreciate the assistance provided by DOLE because it will help my family earn a living while we adjust to our new lives once we move into our permanent resettlement houses," Joy explained.

He also expressed gratitude to the DOLE-NSFO, led by Provincial Head Virgilio A. Doroja, Jr., for providing livelihood assistance to his fellow rebel returnees in adjusting to their new lives, homes, and communities.

The second distribution round, consisting of livestock kits, is set for February 23, 2022, in Catarman, Northern Samar. —Tacloban News Update (Source: DOLE Region 8)
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